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Presented here are examples spacecraft heatshield presentations, represented by a photo guide and a rough classification outlined below. The initial mission is document those presentations which were made at the time of the mission or by a museum during restoration efforts. Presentations originating from the collections of astronauts, NASA employees, and primary contractors are the first to be added.

As there is no prior comprehensive guide, these photos are intended to encourge further discussion and the site will be updated periodically as new information is discovered and reviewed. Already in process for update in the near future are several sections, including presentations that incorporate heatshield sections from multiple missions, the Space Shuttle TPS, and photos of modern style presentations.

Futher reading about types of lucites can be found on collectSPACE.

Please feel free to send in photos of different styles or other presentations you've seen for inclusion in the archive.





Proposed Classification
[Style] + [Type] + [Lettering]

Style of Presentation
P = "Puck" - Heatshield section or plug encased in cylinder shaped lucite.
C = "Capsule" - Heatshield section or plug encased in capsule shaped lucite.
B = "Block" - Heatshield section or plug encased in a square, rectangular, trapezoidal, trianglur, etc. shaped lucite.
N = Non-Encapsulated or "Raw" - Heatshield section not encased in lucite.

Type "P"
P1 = Lucite cylinder, no base.
P2 = Lucite cylinder, lucite base.
P3 = Lucite cylinder, wood base.

Type "B"
B1 = Lucite block, no base.
B2 = Lucite block, lucite base.
B3 = Lucite block, wood base.
B3 = Lucite block, stone base.

Type "C"
C1 = Mercury shaped capsule, rounded nose.
C2 = Mercury shaped capsule, flat nose.
C3 = Gemini shaped capsule, smooth surface, without adapter section.
C4 = Gemini shaped capsule, detailed surface, with adapter section.
C5 = Apollo shaped capsule, half.
C6 = Apollo shaped capsule, full.

Type "N"
N1 = Wood base, information plaque.
N2 = Lucite base, information plaque.
N3 = No base, information plaque.

Lettering / Presentation Text
Note: Organizations listed below not necessarily who manufucated the presentation itself, but instead which organization was known to have presented it to original recipient.

A = NASA   

B = NASA   
                             [*Note: an instance of a number "1" which includes a serif/upstroke on MA-9 presentation.]

E = Black lettering on gold plaque   

F = Black lettering on gold plaque   

G = Black lettering on gold plaque   


H = McDonnell Aircraft   


J = North American Rockwell   

K = North American Rockwell   

L = North American Rockwell   


N = None / No text on presentation
T = Kansas Cosmosphere

X = Non-standard or special font/writing used for only one or two missions.


Mercury-Redstone 1AUnmanned TBD
Mercury-Redstone 2Ham (Chimp) TBD
Mercury-Atlas 2Unmanned P2H
Mercury-Atlas 3Unmanned TBD
Mercury-Redstone 3Alan Shepard TBD
Mercury-Redstone 4Gus Grissom P1X  
Mercury-Atlas 4Unmanned P1B
B1B
Mercury-Atlas 5Enos (Chimp) P1A  
Mercury-Atlas 6John Glenn P1A  
P1B
P1X
P2N  
Mercury-Atlas 7Scott Carpenter P1B  
N1G  
N1X  
Mercury-Atlas 8Wally Schirra P1A  
P1X
N1G  
Mercury-Atlas 9Gordon Cooper P1B*  
P2A
C1B
C2E  
P3B
B3B



In addition to the photo guide, presented here is a more detailed look into the heatshield core samples removed from each Gemini mission.

Note that all information is approximate based on best available photos and measurements taken outside of the protective museum displays.

 Excel File - Gemini Heatshield Core Samples


Gemini 2Unmanned P1A   
P3A  
P1X
B1X
Gemini 3Gus Grisson
John Young
P1B  
C3H      
Gemini 4Jim McDivitt
Ed White
P1A
B3X  
Gemini 5Gordon Cooper
Pete Conrad
P1A  
P1B  
P1B  
Gemini 7Jim Lovell
Frank Borman
P1A  
P1B  
C3H
C3H  
B1X
B3F
Gemini 6AWally Schirra
Tom Stafford
P1A  
P1B  
P1B
C3H   
B3F


First RendezvousGemini 7

Gemini 6A
B1A    
Gemini 8Neil Armstrong
David Scott
P1A
P1B  
B1B
C3H   
C3H   
N1G  
N1G
C4E    
B3X
C4X   
C4X
B3F
N3X  
Gemini 9ATom Stafford
Gene Cernan
P1B  
P1B   
C3H
Gemini 10John Young
Michael Collins
P1B  
Gemini 11Pete Conrad
Richard Gordon
P1B  
C3H   
C3H  
C4H  
B3F
Gemini 12Jim Lovell
Buzz Aldrin
P1B  
C3H
C3H     
Gemini B MOLUnmanned B3X   
B3F   


AS-201Unmanned

Ablator Test
(Qual for Low Earth
Orbit Re-entry)
C5K   
C5J   
C5K   
Apollo 4Unmanned

Ablator Test
(Qual for Lunar
Flight Re-entry)
B1J  
B1K  
B1K  
N1G  
Apollo 6Unmanned

"Sideburns" Ablator Test
(Potential weight savings)
B1B
       [Avco honeycomb type from ablator umbilical test.]

B1B   
       [Foam type from ablator umbilical test.]

B1B
       

       [Foam, balsa wood, and Avco honeycomb types from ablator window test.]

Apollo 7Schirra
Eisele
Cunningham
C5K   
C5K  
B1J  
Apollo 8Borman
Lovell
Anders
B1B
P1B
P3B
C5K  
C5K  
C5K   
C6K   
C6K  
C6K  
B1K
B1K
Apollo 9McDivitt
Scott
Schweickart
P1B
C5K  
N3K
Apollo 10Stafford
Young
Cernan
P1B  
P1B    
C5K  
N3K
B1T       
Apollo 11Armstrong
Collins
Aldrin
P1?     
P3B
P1B      
P1B  
Apollo 12Conrad
Gordon
Bean
P1B    
P1X  
P3B  
Apollo 13Lovell
Swigert
Haise
P1B   
P3B
Apollo 14Shepard
Rossa
Mitchell
TBD
Apollo 15Scott
Worden
Irwin
C6X
Apollo 16Young
Mattingly
Duke
P1B     
B4L  
Apollo 17Cernan
Evans
Schmitt
P1B       
B1L   
B1X
Apollo-Soyuz Test Project
(ASTP)
Stafford
Brand
Slayton
Leonov
Kubasov
P1B     
B4L  
Skylab IIConrad
Kerwin
Weitz
P1B   
P1B  
Skylab IIIBean
Garriott
Lousma
P1B     
Skylab IVCarr
Gibson
Pogue
P1B    



The Apollo/Skylab Command Module heatshield uses 59 bolts to attach the shield to the spacecraft and a plug is placed in the ablative material to cover and protect the bolts. Each plug is unique and its specific location number is engraved on the metal bottom, identifying which bolt it is designed to cover. After the mission, all plugs are cored out of the heatshield so that the shield may be removed and inspected by engineers and technicians. The plugs are then encapsulated in plastic and distributed by NASA to astronauts and space workers as a memento of the mission. An example of a NASA memo detailing these presentations for the Skylab missions can be found here.

The plugs are all the same diameter but vary greatly in height based on the ablator thickness in that region of the command module, with the shortest at 1.25" high (ex. #52) and the tallest at 2.75" high (ex. #8).

Please feel free to send in photos of numbers not yet represned in the table below for inclusion in the archive.



#1

#2

#3

#4

#5

#6

#7

#8

#9

#10

#11

#12

#13

#14

#15

#16

#17

#18

#19

#20

#21

#22

#23

#24

#25

#26

#27

#28

#29

#30

#31

#32

#33

#34

#35

#36

#37

#38

#39

#40

#41

#42

#43

#44

#45

#46

#47

#48

#49

#50

#51

#52

#53

#54

#55

#56

#57

#58

#59

Example engraving
of plug #37 from
Apollo 13


STS-1Young
Crippen
Elevon Ablator Test
(Changed to Tile Post STS-5)
B3X  
B3X


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This page last modified: 08/23/2018
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